By Ryan Williams, TechBetter.com - Here is something few people realize about the Internet. Everything you post on the Internet is permanent. I think many people incorrectly assume that when they remove something from MySpace, Facebook, or a website, the information is no longer accessible. Not so. Many websites store all of this history, and websites like Google and Archive.org allow you to peer back in time and view a website as it existed years ago. Also, there are numerous ways to capture web pages and store them on a personal computer.
So, the obvious point I am making here is to be cautious when posting your thoughts online, whether it be in a blog, a blog comment, a MySpace or Facebook page, Twitter or any other method for posting thoughts online. A growing trend is for business managers to "Google" potential new hires before interviewing them. If anything is found during the search that raises questions about the person's character, the person may never get an interview; and worst of all, the person will likely never know why.
Now, for the not so obvious point, many of you reading this are probably thinking the last paragraph was common sense and that any mature person already implicitly understands this. Let me ask you, however, what about your children? For most, they have not had the life experience yet to understand what might be considered inappropriate to some people. It would be very easy for a young person to post a comment in haste that they find humorous but that every future potential employer will find disconcerting.
My suggestion is to coach your children to be very, very careful about how they portray themselves online. Social networking is very powerful, and it is here to stay. In fact, it will continue to permeate more and more of our daily activities (especially the younger generations). However, social networking can also be an albatross for the rest of your life if not handled prudently.